This evening’s service looked at the many answers to prayer we have received this year, a year when as a church we have focussed on particular topics each month. People gave thanks for the answers we have seen which were then pinned to the prayer board:

* thanks for new ministries (Stephen leading worship, Stacey’s involvement in Sunday School, the development of Julie & Garry’s ministries)
* thanks for healings (Tony’s strength and health returning after major surgery in January, Lorraine’s renewed health after being so ill at the start of the year, Jenson’s successful operation and so on)
* thanks for the success of various church outreaches, including the food bank, numbers (and queues!) at the Mums ‘n’ Toddlers & youth groups
* thanks for what God is doing in other local churches in Goldthorpe and in Barnsley
* thanks for the faithfulness of the leadership in serving and preaching God’s word in power and under the anointing of God’s Spirit
* thanks for friends and family attending the carol service last week
* thanks for the opportunities we have had to share the gospel with friends and acquaintances throughout the year

Garry then spoke from Matt 6:5-9 TNIV on the subject of prayer. Prayer is all about being real with God. We don’t have to put on a show, use a special prayer voice, adopt particular postures or poses, for what counts is the heart attitude (as 1 Sam 16:7 TNIV reminds us.)

When we pray, we need to remember that we are praying to God the Lord and King, but God who is also our Father. There is no inability that limits God; He will not do certain things because of His character, but He is not limited by ability as earthly parents are! Jesus urged us to pray large prayers (John 16:23-24 TNIV) and to expect much from God. James reminds us that sometimes we do not have because we do not ask God, so we need to develop our faith by asking and believing. God is always able to help us and is not limited in any way; He is a loving Father who longs to give good gifts. (James 1:17 TNIV, Luke 11:11-13 TNIV) Sometimes, however, God says ‘no’ and as we mature in faith, we will not respond with a temper tantrum (as toddlers do!) but will understand that He only says ‘no’ for our ultimate benefit and good.

God wants us to pray for ourselves and for others, especially so that we get to know His heart more and more. As the New Year approaches, so the need for ongoing prayer remains. The church will be open on Saturday 4th January from 12 noon until 4 p.m. for prayer as we embrace changes in leadership and look to see God pour out His Spirit on us. You are welcome to call in for as long or short a time as you can spare, but it is always good to set time aside to seek God’s heart.

We also had a birthday to celebrate: